UNSMIL expresses deep concern at increased abductions, arbitrary detention and enforced disappearance cases since the outbreak of fighting in Tripoli
Tripoli, 08 May 2019 – UNSMIL is deeply concerned about increased cases of arbitrary arrest and detention, abduction, kidnapping and disappearance in Libya, inflicted upon officials, activists and journalists. These cases warn of deterioration of the rule of law in Libya.
The Mission emphasizes that under International Human Rights Law (IHRL), everyone has the right to liberty and security of person. No one may be subjected to arbitrary arrest or detention Enforced disappearances are also prohibited by IHRL, as are abductions and kidnappings. The Mission reminds all parties to the conflict that they must adhere to human rights and rule of law obligations. All authorities must operate under the rule of law and ensure that arrests and detention fully comply with due process and fundamental fairness.
Since the beginning of the current conflict in Tripoli, there has been a sharp increase in abductions, disappearances and arbitrary arrests. At least seven officials and employees were arbitrarily detained or kidnapped in East and West Libya. The fate of all these victims remains unknown, and there may be others who have disappeared under similar circumstances.
Journalists also continue to face increasing threats, intimidation and violence, often in connection with reporting on the conflict or calling for peace. The fate of the two journalists working for the Libya Al-Ahrar TV channel who were abducted on 02 May remains unknown. UNSMIL calls for their immediate unconditional release and safe return to their families.
The Mission calls on all parties to release immediately anyone arbitrarily arrested and detained, and not to engage in abduction, kidnapping or enforced disappearance. The taking of hostages during a conflict is a violation of International Humanitarian Law and may amount to a war crime.
Note to Correspondents
Article 8(2)(c) Rome Statute:
“In the case of an armed conflict not of an international character, serious violations of article 3 common to the four Geneva Conventions of 12 August 1949, namely, any of the following acts committed against persons taking no active part in the hostilities, including members of armed forces who have laid down their arms and those placed hors de combat by sickness, wounds, detention or any other cause:
(i) Violence to life and person, in particular murder of all kinds, mutilation, cruel treatment and torture; (ii) Committing outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment; (iii) Taking of hostages; (iv) The passing of sentences and the carrying out of executions without previous judgement pronounced by a regularly constituted court, affording all judicial guarantees which are generally recognized as indispensable”.